Creative Habitat of Dubai: Najat Makki

Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

Najat Makki is a visual artist from the United Arab Emirates and a pioneer in the contemporary art scene in the region. The first Emirati woman to study art abroad on a government scholarship, she gained her degrees in art from the College of Fine Arts, Cairo, in 1977.

Najat Makki painting in her studio in Dubai, Najat Makki, 2021, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
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Najat Makki's oil paint brushes, Najat Makki, 2021, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
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Najat Makki being honored by the Prince of Al-Baha Region, Najat Makki, 2007, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
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Najat Makki presenting to Sheikh Sultan Al-Qasimi, ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah., From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
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She is often celebrated for her early work that depicted symbols of Emirati culture and heritage, before moving on to more abstract realms. She has been honoured by many prestigious awards, including the UAE’s National Award for Arts, Sciences and Literature in 2008.

Najat Makki a member of the judging committee for the Al-Baha Prize, Najat Makki, 2007, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
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The Amman International Forum, Najat Makki, 2009, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
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Najat Makki has participated in many international exhibitions and workshops. She has also been a member of the jury for several awards for art and literature, including the Al Baha prize (KSA), and the Arab Forum Award for the best children’s book (Sharjah).

Najat Makki VideoDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Artist's Book workshop, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Najat Makki, 2010, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
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In this brief video, Najat Makki shares how her childhood interest in art was deeply influenced by the environment she grew up in. She reminisces how the vibrant sounds and changing colours of the Dubai Creek never stopped fascinating her.

Najat Makki At the opening of her exhibition at the Dubai International Airport Hall (2004) by Najat MakkiDubai Culture & Arts Authority


Najat Makki also applauds the early interest in art, and the encouragement of artists, displayed by Dubai officials and how it has grown over time. Hailing from Bur Dubai, she muses on how facets of Dubai have an aesthetic appeal that holds inspiration for creative minds.

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